77 rue de Seine (at corner of rue Buci, 6th arrondissement). Métro: Odéon. Tel. 01.55.42.02.23.
(Another chain that we've enjoyed for breakfast is Le Pain Quotidien, with four locations in Paris.)
We also like La Patisserie Viennoise. We’d heard about the hot chocolate served at this little salon de thé near the medical school, and we were not disappointed. Great pastries, too.
8 rue de l’Ecole de Medecine (6th arrondissement). Métro: Odéon or cluny la Sorbonne. Tel. 01.43.26.60.48.
First, we will mention our approach to the idea of lunch. Generally, whether we are in Paris or the countryside, we try to find a place that will be interesting, "local," and satisfying — but that will not take more than about 90 minutes or two hours, and also will not make us too full. After all, we want to have dinner. Our lunch recommendations are set out below with this concept in mind. (A good alternative approach is to go all out and have a substantial lunch — maybe at a fine multi-starred restaurant, where the lunch tab often will be half to one-third of dinner — and then have a smaller dinner . . . .)
(Note: We don't generally focus upon vegetarian restaurants per se, although we do often have a vegetarian lunch. When friends have asked for specific vegetarian recommendations, we have referred them to the Paris page of Richard Gillmann's helpful lists of such places — see Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris.)
Mamie Gateaux. This delightful tea room and lunch location in the 6th arrondissement, usually filled 90 percent with women, has become our favorite lunch place. It's perfect for quiches and other savories, tartes and cakes before or after shopping at Au Bon Marché, a short walk away. If Mamie Gateaux is full (if you want a table for lunch you must arrive at least before 12:30; it closes at 18:00), another good place nearby — stylish, and with a wholly different atmosphere — is Cuisine de Bar (see below).
Cuisine de Bar. Stylish and hip; we had a fine light lunch of tartines (open-faced toasted sandwiches) on great Poîlane bread from next door. (Open 8:30 to 19:00.)
Le Nemrod. A casual neighborhood café/bistro/ bar a vins next door to our favorite apartment, it’s open all day and past midnight. We got to know the staff smokers who took their breaks in our doorway from 8:00-00:30 each day. Minutes after arriving from CDG we had a nice wild mushroom omelette and salad cruditee, with a carafe of darn good Brouilly from an extensive Beaujolais selection.
51, rue du Cherche-Midi (6th arrondissement). Métro: St.-Placide, or Sevres-Babylone, or Rennes.
H. Kitchen. Not to be (or maybe designed to be?) confused with the (former) Hidden Kitchen. We were the first in the empty room for lunch, and were very lucky to be seated without a reservation. The small, spare & yet elegant neighborhood place filled up immediately with local families. The cooking shows clear Asian influence — thanks to Dr. John for steering us here. We had to agree to vacate by 13:00, but we were happy just to get in, and for once we got l’addition quickly. We will be pleased to return for dinner.
18, rue Mayet (6th arrondissement). Métro: Duroc, Vaneau or Falguiere.
Bistrot Landais. Inspired by Ptipois’s recommendation, we went for confit de canard (€10 less than a pretty similar dish at Les Philosophes, and maybe as good). We really liked this simple corner/neighborhood bistro with a friendly feel. The langue de boeuf was pretty good too, tho not up to the version at Le Dirigeable (see dinners, below).
104, rue du Cherche-Midi (6th arrondissement). Métro: Vaneau.
Le 122. We had a nice table for four at this bright & cleanly stylish place, and would happily return for dinner next time. More details from Dr. John here.
122, bien sur, rue de Grenelle (7th arrondissement). Métro: Rue du Bac.
Les Philosophes. So many of our first choices were “fermee exceptionnelle” between Christmas and until right after New Year’s day that we had to make quite a few adjustments en route, and this was a happy one, where we had among other things a fine confit de canard, with a carafe of nice Crozes Hermitage. It was bursting busy — I’d get there early, or reserve. Service was fast, maybe even too much so. The carte proclaims: “Le Vrai fait maison,” and our waiter enthused that the confit was as well. Note: looks like a nice place to go for, as the carte proposes, “Petite restauration”/ late breakfast too.
28 rue Vielle du Temple (4th arrondissement). Métro: St.-Paul.
Brasserie de l’Ile St. Louis. This hundred-year old brasserie, overflowing with character, is one of our favorite “first-lunch-back-in town” places. Usually we split an omelet, salad, and the house Alsatian riesling. The brasserie’s terrace has a great view of the back of Notre Dame. The Ile St. Louis is a gem to stroll, especially late at night.55, quai de Bourbon (4th arrondissement). Métro: Pont Marie (or walk from Notre Dame). Tel. 01.43.54.02.59. Open 12:00 noon-2:30 (lunch), 6:30-2:00 (dinner), closed Thurs. lunch, Wed., and Aug.
Other recommended places for lunch or afternoon “tea”:
Florence Finkelsztajn. This traditional Jewish boulangerie and traiteur (deli/caterer) is one of two shops, only doors away from each other in the charming rue des Rosiers area of the Marais, on the opposite side of the street from l’as du Fallafel. The Florence storefront is blue, the other, and family rival, Sacha Finkelsztajn, is yellow. We like them both for Polish almond babkes, blini, and borscht. If there’s no place to sit, you can take your orders to go, and picnic in the nearby Place des Vosges.
24 rue des Ècouffes (4th arrondissement). Métro: St.-Paul. Tel. 01.48.87.92.85. Open 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (lunch), 3:00-7:00 p.m. (tea/early dinner), closed Wed. & Aug.
Mariage Frères. The firm is more than 140 years old, and offers more than three hundred kinds of tea served at lunch, brunch, and in the late afternoon. Tea bags are made by hand, the water is filtered, and tea is removed from the pot after it’s brewed, to avoid stewing. There’s a slightly snooty, albeit très elegante colonial France ambiance in the small dining room, which is decorated with original tea-related posters from 1930s. Numerous menu options are offered, including foie gras, small cut sandwiches on green bread, and salads. Make sure to visit the Musée de thé, up the narrow stairs.
There are two other similar Mariage Frères locations in the 6th and 8th:
12 rue des Grandes-Augustins (entrance on rue de Savoie) (6th arrondissement). Métro: St.-Michel. Tel. 01.40.51.82.50. Open daily, 11:30-4:00 p.m. (brunch/lunch), 3:00-7:00 p.m. (tea).
260 rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré (8th arrondissement). Métro: Ternes. Tel. 01.46.22.18.54. Open daily 11:30-4:00 p.m. (brunch/lunch), 3:00-7:00 p.m. (tea).
Café Jacquemart-André. This is a beautiful café in a private museum housing a collection of Flemish, Italian Renaissance, and 18th-century French paintings. The café, once a formal dining room, is grandly decorated with tapestries, and a trompe l’oeil ceiling by Giambattista Tiepolo. Enjoy a brunch of smoked salmon, lentil salad, and various tarts.
158 boul. Haussmann (8th arrondissement). Métro: Miromesnil or St. Philippe du Roule. Tel. 01.42.89.04.91. Open daily, 11:30-5:30 p.m.
le 7 bis. Quite near the Jacquemart-André and Parc Monceau, we had a nice traditional lunch surrounded — elbow-to-elbow — by chatty local office workers.
7 bis Monceau (8th arrondissement). Métro: St. Philippe du Roule. Tel. 01.45.63.33.37.
Ladurée. This is one of the best tearooms in Paris. It was established in 1862. Arrive early and secure one of the two upstairs window seats overlooking the intersection of rue Royal and place de la Madeleine — or, as we did, settle for the middle small banquette table, from which two persons sit side by side looking out over the quaint room. This is also an excellent spot for Sunday brunch — you will notice multigenerational families having a good time out. If you return later at teatime you can try various pastries, superb chocolates, ice creams and sorbets, and almond macaroons or an assortment of four mini-macaroons. Ladurée also is known for its excellent bread, including elegant flûtes.
(There are a couple additional Ladurée locations, one in the 6th arrondissement, down the street from the Hotel du Danube.)
Or for something completely different, take the TGV an hour from Paris and go to lunch in, say, Lille, and dine at A l’Huitriere. The room is elegant (and we appreciated it more so after we asked to be moved to a better table pres de la fenetre, SVP), and although expensive, the quality was high, the service very fine, and it was a great way to spend a long rainy afternoon before visiting the last day of the Christmas market en route to the excellent Palais de Beaux Arts.
3 rue de Chats Bossus, 59000 Lille.
(But what kind? Restaurant? Bistro? Brasserie?)
Although Paris has many excellent restaurants serving non-French fare, our list focuses on two main types of French cooking: (1) Restaurants and Bistros, and (2) Brasseries. What’s the difference between a restaurant and a bistro? More and more, less and less.
A restaurant traditionally is thought of as a full service establishment; in recent decades a bistro (or bistrot) has come to be thought of as being smaller, faster, and less grand than a restaurant. And yet some restaurants are small in scale and scope, and some bistros seem quite grand in both respects. To some extent the difference is a state of mind (or the image that the proprietor wants to project), and neither is better than the other. Nor is either a place to go off-hours, such at 11:00 or 3:00 PM; they keep standard lunch and dinner hours. For off-hours dining, there are cafes (for simple fare), or . . . .
A brasserie. Traditionally, a beer hall, often with an Alsatian connection. Brasseries often offer not only beer, but wines and spirits. They are typically bright, vibrant, and loud, and they usually open earlier than restaurants and bistros, and they serve at off-hours; many of them serve food all day. Brasserie cooking tends to be old fashioned and in recent decades the quality can be disappointing to foodies. Still, if you order items that must be cooked or prepared at the moment, it can be very enjoyable. And many are fine places for large seafood platters on ice. The brasseries that we list below (separate from and after our listing of restaurants and bistros) are all traditional ones with stunning décor. So don't expect great cooking, but it should be fun.
(listed by arrondissement; our current "very favorites" are marked “►”)
Chez Denise/ A la Tour de Monthéry. Here is a traditional Les Halles place in which to enjoy old fashioned food with good Beaujolais in house bottles while jammed in at large red and white checkered tables. I could barely dent the huge pot of tripes that was placed before me (I hope and assume they throw it back into a larger communal vat). It’s open seemingly all hours (well, until 5:00 in the morning anyway), but for “normal hours” one must reserve. We will return. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
5 rue des Prouvaires (1st arrondissement). Métro: Chatelet or Louvre-Rivoli. Tel. 01.42.36.21.82.
Restaurant Paul. It feels like the 1940s in this traditional establishment looking out to Place Dauphine, where you are likely to be dining next to lawyers and judges at lunch (the courts are nearby).
15 Place Dauphine (1rst arrondissement). Métro: Pont-Neuf. Tel. 01.43.54.21.48.
La Rose de France. This small and welcoming bistro offers sidewalk seating looking out to the quiet and beautiful place Dauphine, near the downstream tip of the ile de la Cite, and far from the noisy tourist crowds. (Also excellent for lunch.)
24, place Dauphine (1rst arrondissement). Métro: Pont Neuf/ Cite. Tel. 01.43.54.10.12.
Lescure. Although this cramped traditional bistro serves merely good but not great fare, the country ambiance and friendliness of the place (especially if you are seated at the back communal table) and the reasonably prices make it very enjoyable.
7, rue de Mondovi (1rst arrondissement). Métro: Concorde. Tel. 01.42.60.18.91.
Le Soufflé. As the name suggests, this place serves all species of soufflé. Rounding out the carte are numerous non-soufflé items, including beef and fish dishes, and seasonal appetizers such as white asparagus. For dessert, try the tarte fine aux pommes chaudes (a hot apple tart).
36 rue du Mont-Thabor (1st arrondissement). Métro: Concorde or Tuileries. Tel. 01.42.60.27.19. Open 12:00 noon-2:30 (lunch), 7:00-10:30 (dinner), closed Sun. & holidays.
Au Gourmand. We enjoyed contemporary and inventive dining in a convivial setting. The manager and the waiter were friendly, appropriately chatty and professional, and both spoke perfect English. (See our full review on Tripadvisor.)
17, rue Molière (1rst arrondissement). Métro: Pyramides. Tel. 01.42.96.22.19.
Hidden Kitchen. The ten-course candlelit tasting menu for 16 persons, hosted in the beautiful Paris apartment of this American foodie couple from Seattle, was perfectly conceived and executed. Dinner starts at 8:00 and ends at 11:30, but it seems that we left a bit later. He cooks; she matches and serves the accompanying wines, which were perfectly chosen for each dish. (The wines, by the way, are from the wine shop, La Dernière Goutte.) Prior to each course, the hosts take turns describing what we are about to taste. In addition to the excellent cooking and wine, we very much enjoyed the social aspect of the evening — it was a welcome change from the formality of restaurant dining. (It’s not called “hidden” for nothing — you are given the address only after they confirm that they have a seat for you . . . . ) Update: As of Fall 2011, HK is no more. But Braden and Laura have opened Verjus, a promising new wine bar and restaurant.
► Spring We found that it lived up to its hype. We had fall mushrooms in a foam with pomegranate seeds; a large shrimp in a tempura batter served above a carpaccio of fish; veal sweetbreads and tete de veau with radishes and parsnips in a fine sauce; and then (skipping the optional cheese course because we could not go there after the prior night's dinner at Chez L'Ami Jean), three desserts — apple with thyme ice cream, chocolate quenelle with salted caramel, and an olive oil ganache atop a reduction of berries. It's pretty expensive at dinner (and it would be nice to see some lower-priced wines on the list), but as with many fine Paris restauarnts, the fare is much less costly at lunch.
Update: There were three of us for at the four-top facing the kitchen — what an impressive scene, and fun to watch that team. My wife was back at apartment with the same bug that had sidelined me days earlier, and so she missed the most memorable dish that I’ve had in a long time: Truffle sandwich, along with incredible bullion and more truffles atop. Once again, Spring delivered the best dining of the trip.
6 Rue Bailleul, tel. 01.45.96.05.72. Métro: Louvre Rivoli.
Restaurant du Palais Royal. We were aiming for the Verjus wine bar at lunch, when, on arriving, we realized that they are not open at lunch, at least on Wednesday. And so we ambled to the Restaurant du Palais Royal, where we knew it would be rather costy, but it was our last day, we were tired, and we felt spurgy. Entrée, to split, ceviche de cabillaud, lait de coco et moutarde à l’ancienne, very nice. My wife’s bar Breton with half a fennel was among the best lunch fish of our trip (and for three weeks she specialized in fish at lunch). My espadon (swordfish) sauce tomatée with leeks was firm and nice. Expensive and enyoyable, but can’t see going back soon.
110 Galerie de Valois. Métro: Palais Royal/ Bourse.
Frenchie. We enjoyed this “difficult reservation” place, where memorable parts of our meal were nicely smoked — trout, etc. But it was a hot September night, and with the doors open, we also got a lot of the cigarette smoke from those waiting to enter the Frenchie wine bar on the other side of the tiny street. Oh well, it’s still a lot better than it used to be before the indoor smoking ban. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
5 rue du Nil (2nd arrondissement). Métro: Sentier. Tel. 01.40.39.96.19
Saturne. Like at Spring, Chateaubriand, Les Papilles and other newish Paris restaurants, the day’s menu at this cave à manger is all that’s offered; there is no choice. Fine with us, sometimes we get tired of making decisions. The food (60 Euros menu) has a light and elegant Nodic influence, and we took the wine paring (also 60 Euros), one for each of the six courses. We like the place, but can understand that some find the service and feel a bit cold. The room itself certainly was not; on a warm September evening, we had to wonder why such a new and stylish place had no air conditioning. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
Ambassade d’Auvergne. Here you will find hearty Auvergne fare, including of course aligot (potatoes whipped with cheese and served with flourish). We prefered the cozy downstairs room, at the large table, instead of the more austere upstairs rooms.22, rue de Grenier St-Lazare (3rd arrondissement). Métro: Rambuteau. Tel. 01.42.72.31.22.
Café des Musées. We’ve heard it’s become frequented by tourists, and this was so when we were there on a Sunday afternoon (it’s open seven days, which is nice). But what do you expect in the middle of the Marias? The traditional French food, prepared by an Asian chef and team, was excellent. Charming; we will return. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
49, rue de Turenne (3rd arrondissement). Métro: Chemin Vert. Tel.01.42.72.96.17.
Le Pamphlet. This is (was) stylish and friendly place for contemporary Basque-inspired dining. But we've heard it's closing as of Decmber 2010?
38, rue Debelleyme (3rd arrondissement). Métro: Filles-du-Calvaire. Tel. 01.42.72.39.24.
Benoit. Classic Lyonaise bistro cuisine is served in an elegant 1912 setting. Expensive, and when we were there, full of Americans enjoying business dinner tax write-offs.
20, rue St-Martin (4th arrondissement). Métro: Chatelet-Les-Halles/Hotel de Ville. Tel. 01.42.72.25.76.
Restaurant Louis Philippe. There is a traditional and cozy, cafe/wine bar on ground floor, with a nice enclosed sidewalk terrace. The restaurant dining room, up the narrow curled iron stairs, offers nice views of the bookinists on the Seine. 66, quai de l’hôtel de ville (4th arrondissement). Métro: Pont Marie. Tel. 01.42.72.29.42.
Mon Vieil Ami. Modern Alsatian cooking in a small room on the beautiful Ile. (We've recently heard reports about less-than excellent service.)
69 rue Saint Louis en l’Ile (4th arrondissement). Métro: Pont-Marie. Tel. 01.40.46.01.35.
Le Gaigne. Mickaël Gaignon, the young chef with an impressive cooking resume (see the restaurant’s web site), produces edgy and contemporary dishes in this tiny bistro (some might call it a "Bistronomique"). The titles for each dish are simple — for example, to start, “Le Petit Pois” turned out to be a chilled sweet pea velouté (a velvety cream sauce made with stock, flour and butter), mackerel tartar and chorizo chips — wow! We loved this place, and we are not alone. Soon after we posted a favorable review on Tripadvisor, Mark Bittman of the New York Times followed our lead(!) and listed it as his favorite of four highlighted "evolving style" bistros. This will make it important to reserve in advance for the next few months . . . . And let's see if the spotlight helps, or hurts.
12, rue Pecquay (4th arrondissement). Métro: Rambuteau. Tel. 01.44.59.96.72.
Chez René. This place feels like 1957 — the year it opened. The cooking is similar to that offered by Au Petit Marguery, 13eme. We had beet salad, oeufs mayonnaise, excellent boeuf bourguignon, and warm Saucisson de Lyon, all with a nice Lyonnaise rouge, and finally tarte orange.
14 Boul. St Germain (5th arrondissement). Métro: Maubert Mutualité. Tel. 01.43.54.30.23. Closed Sun & Mon.
Le Reminet. We had a nice table for dinner by the front door on our somewhat jetlagged first night. We ordered from the carte at 40 percent off, thanks to a promotion from La Fourchette.com / The Fork.com, which was honored on the bill, no prompting needed. Standing out was a pigeon farci, and a persille homard. Oh, and a buche de noel.
3, rue de Grands Degres (5th arrondissement). Métro: Maubert Mutualite or RER St Michel.
Rotisserie de Beaujolais. This is a good place for dinner on a cold winter Sunday evening. We’ve heard that it's usually best to stick to the rotisseried items — we had the chicken and the pheasant. As one would expect, there’s a good selection of Beaujolais. (Speaking of which, that’s the name of the friendly house cat, which patrols the room.)
19 quai de la Tournelle (5th arrondissement). Métro: Maubert Mutualité. Tel. 01.43.54.17.47. (Closed Mon.)
Les Papilles. This wine store/ cave à manger offers no carte or choices — a single nightly menu is all you get — and often that’s all we want. Dinner started, as it usually does, with at fine soup (the liquid poured over fixins in the bowl at table). The plat was braised beef cheeks, followed by cheese and dessert. You pick a wine (or two) from off the store’s walls; they add seven euros to the listed retail price. When we dined there on a warm night in September, we were lucky to get an outside table for four, but we’d love to be there in the winter, and ask for a table for two at the front window. One drawback: We’ve since seen that it’s very highly rated on TripAdvisor; this probably accounts for much of the English spoken by many customers. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
Le Petit Prince de Paris. This lively bistro on a charming pedestrian street near the Sorbonne stays open very late to serve a mixed gay/straight customer base.
12 rue de Lanneau (5th arrondissement). Métro: Maubert-Mutualite. Tel. 01.43.54.77.26.
Ribouldingue. Since dining here, we’ve joked about “that awful food” — but we do so with tongue in cheek. Actually, we devoured offal — tongue and cheek — (beef and veal, respectively), as well as lightly sautéed lamb’s brains — creamy and fantastic! Ribouldingue (we’re told the name translates to “binge”) caters to a certain crowd, but for the less adventurous at your table there are a few non-offal items on the menu, including a fairly regular-sounding fish dish. (See our full review on Tripadvisor.)
10, rue St-Julien le Pauvre (5th arrondissement). Métro: St-Michel. Tel. 01.46.33.98.80.
Le Languedoc. This is a favorite neighborhood spot, the kind that many tourists may not find. We’ve had diner here many times since 2001. It’s off the track, but worth it. Start with the herring in olive oil. Then try the confit de canard, which must be ordered for two. The Dubois family has run this place for more than 30 years — you will see mother, father and son (always in a blue shirt), helped by a burgundy-vested waiter who looks like Sidney Greenstreet.
64, Boul. de Port Royale (5th arrondissement). Métro: Le Gobelins. Tel. 01.47.07.24.47. Open 12:00 noon-2:30 (lunch), 7:00-10:30 (dinner), Note: Closed Tues. & Wed.
Terroir Parisien. Memorable dishes on a Sunday night along with a NYTimes-referred crowd: Museau a la vinaigrette (very nice); poulet au vinaigre; boudin noir (large hockey puck size, broiled — seemingly on all sides — very good) served in the middle of pureed potatoes; a fine and generous “assortiment de fromages”; plus mousse au chocolat to share, a nice red wine. Note, the simple wine list is nicely organized by price, three choices at 17€, 5-6 choices at 24€, more at 36€ and at 52€, etc. American restaurants could learn from this and dare to offer low-cost wines.
20 rue Saint Victor (5eme). Métro: Maubert Mutualité. Tel. 01-44-31-54-54.
Le Timbre. We so enjoyed the feel and the welcome at this tiny postage-stamp size place owned and run by the incredibly organized and hard-working English chef, Chris Wright. When he saw us waiting on the sidewalk for our table, he left his diminutive kitchen station and brought out two glasses of a crisp white wine. The fresh market-driven menu was excellent. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
3 rue St-Beuve 6th arrondissement). Métro: Notre-Dame des Champs. Tel. 0145491040.
Moustache. After days and days of traditional and modern French food, it’s refreshing to go to a little place like this, which offers both traditional and contemporary French fare along with dishes showing some strong Asian influences. We will return. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
3, rue Sainte-Beuve (6th arrondissement). Métro: Notre-Dame des Champs. Tel. 01.42.22.56.65.
La Rotisserie d’en Face. With somewhat slim pickings on New Year’s day for dinner we returned here after many years, and it was good, if not great. Most memorable: Pate de sanglier en croute, and cervelle de veau meuniere. My wife’s pigeonneau aux petits pois was too dry.
2, rue Christine (6th arrondissement). Métro: Odeon or RER St Michel.
L’ Epi Dupin. A servicable bistro — but this one is far from our favorite. If you don't book the later of the two seatings, you will hear many American accents.
11, rue Dupin (6th arrondissement). Métro: Sevres-Babylone. Tel. 01 42 22 64 56.
La Ferrandaise. This contemporary place named after a cow from the Auvergne/ Puy de Dôme is deceptive — it keeps on going, with lots of rooms other than the one into which you enter. We had creamy spaghetti squash “soup” with raifort and garlic bread; “Tartar of sea bass with grapefruit, cream of watercress”; scallops with dried fruits; and red scorpion fish in a pot with saffron potatoes. For dessert, we had apple and quince compote with ice cream, and clementine with bread pudding. All very nice.
8 rue de Vaugirard (6th arrondissement). Métro: Odéon or Luxembourg. Tel. 01.43.26.36.36.
Fish La Boissonnerie. One of this things that we like about this lively place with good wines (it’s associated with the wine shop La Dernière Goutte, which is nearby) is that if you dine at the bar, you can split each course — useful if you’ve had a big lunch.
69 rue de Seine (6th arrondissement). Métro: Mabillon. Tel. 01 43 54 34 69. (Closed Mon.)
Semilla is accross the street from its cousin, Fish La Boissonerie. Nice, stylish room, open kitchen — the ventilation is as not as good as Spring’s, tho, some strong fish smells kept wafting me. Memorable at our table for 3: entrees: “Raviolie” (1 huge, in billion — very nice); pomelos. Plats: Daurade, Carre de couchon. My tete de veau was good, tho not among the best I’ve had. Like Fish, it’s associated with the wine shop La Dernier Goute, right around the corner, and we had some good & interesting wines by carafe.
54 rue de Seine (6th arrondissement). Métro: Mabilon.
Au Bon Saint-Pourçain. It feels like a simple countryside café inside this tiny place. We enjoyed marinated leeks, rabbit with tarragon in aspic, chicken in a tarragon cream sauce, blanquette de veau, and a pretty good tarte tatin (it leaned too much toward applesauce), all washed down with a reasonably priced Irancy. Overall, very good value. (Note: Cash only.)
10 bis, rue Servandoni (6th arrondissement). Métro: Mabillon. Tel. 01.43.54.93.63.
Le Procope. We found this venerable establishment serving traditional fare, which claims to be Paris’ first restaurant, to be over-the-top touristy, and a bit cheesy. Arguably, it's worth a visit, however, especially if, as with us, someone else is paying.
13, rue de l’Ancienne Comedie (6th arrondissement). Métro: Odeon. Tel. 01.40.46.79.00.
Chez Dumonet (Josephine). It feels like old Paris in this classic bistro, and yet, in a nod to modernity, one can order half dishes. 117 rue De Cherche-Midi (6th arrondissement). Métro: Duroc/ Falguiere. Tel. 01.45.48.52.40.
Ze Kitchen Galerie. Stylish, with a price to match. (Lunch is a better deal, we've heard.)
4, rue des Grands-Augustins (6th arrondissement). Métro: St.-Michel. Tel. 01.44.32.00.32.
Allard. Step back to the 1930s. The lamb shoulder, and duck with olives, are signature dishes. Both rooms are traditional and cozy, but we prefer the smaller “front” room to the left as you enter — in the middle of the kitchen. The ambiance is truly "old Paris," but lately we've seen and heard that's become rather expensive and overcrowed with American and Japanese tourists.
41, rue St-Andre-des-Arts (6th arrondissement). Métro: Odeon. Tel. 01.43.26.48.23.
27 rue Malar, tel. 01.47.05.86.89. Métro: Invalides or La Tour Maubourg.
L’Auberge Bressane. We went to this traditional Burgundy/Lyon restaurant looking for tripe, but darn, it was not on the carte in late September. Instead we had quenelles (not quite light enough), an OK oeff Beaujolais, a fine veal chop, good coq-au-vin, and really good cuisse de grenouille (frog’s legs). For dessert, the soufflé caramel fell a bit when the waiter punctured it to pour in the sauce; we told him don’t worry, and devoured it. Ten minutes later, he showed up with another, which we happily dispatched. That’s professional service — he just wanted to make sure we had it the correct way.
16, avenue de la Motte-Picquet (7th arrondissement). Métro: Ecole Militaire. Tel. 01.47.05.98.37.
Restaurant Chez Germaine. This is a tiny and very simple neighborhood restaurant. There are seven tables, and you may have to/get to share yours with others (who, in this area, seem to include a fair number of Americans residing nearby). The menu includes roast beef, salmon, kidneys in cream, celery rémoulade, eggs with house-made mayonnaise, salt pork with carrots or lentils, beef tongue in tomato sauce (just like Mo’s French grandmother’s), and a great chocolate cake.
8 ave. Dutuit (carré Champs-Élysées, 8th arrondissement). Métro: Champs-Élysées Clemenceau. Tel. 01.53.05.10.01.
10, place de la Concorde (in the Hotel de Crillon, 8th arrondissement). Métro: Concorde. Tel. 01.44.71.16.16.
Café de la Paix, in Le Grand Hotel. We found ourselves nearby at lunch, and so popped into the “restaurant” (contrasted with the brasserie). As we expected it’s an elegant place, and we are glad we went, but can’t see returning soon. We had a salad of poulpe (octopus); roget; a demi of chablis; melon and flan, and one express, served with macarons.
2 rue du Scribe. Métro: Opéra.
Carnet de Voyage. Sometimes we want to break things up with non-French food. Our table for 6 was one of the few of non-Asian groups in this hopping place that takes no reservations, so be prepared to wait. This was Chinese (specifically, Yunnan) cooking like we’ve never experienced in San Francisco, with some notable presentations in hot woks left at the table. Inexpensive.
4 rue de Budapest (9th arrondissement). Métro: St.-Lazare.
Chez Grenouille. We enjoyed a gratin of macaroni pasta perfumed with truffles, foie de veau Lyonnaise (served hot from the oven under a puffed pastry crown), a nice Bordeaux, and a fine chocolate soufflé. After the meal, we had a delightful conversation and business card exchange with the nearby diners, one of whom seemed impressed (or was that amused?) to learn that my dining companion was my wife and not a mistress. No English to be heard, although Madame apparently speaks some.
52 rue Blanche (9th arrondissement). Métro: Blanche or Trinité. Tel. 01.42.81.34.07.
Chartier. This impressively large and quite beautiful classic dining hall with rushed waiters serving inexpensive food is listed in many guide books and attracts a lot of traffic. We've not been for many years, but during that time we've heard many negative reviews, and so we are wary. Plus: There have recently been media reports about using what amounts to frozen dinners there! Some say, what do you expect for the price? Beware.
7, rue Faubourg Montmartre (9th arrondissement). Métro: Grandes Boulevards. Tel. 01.48.24.14.68.
12, rue des Messageries (10th arrondissement). Métro: Poissenniere. Tel. 01.47.70.06.84.
Chez Michel. After reading reviews from various trustworthy sources, we had high expectations for Chez Michel, but we were slightly disappointed. Part of that had to do with the service, which was a bit too fast for us, although we did not get the impression that they needed or expected to turn our table. Still, it was a friendly and convivial place, and our selections from the Breton-leaning 32 euro menu all were delicious. (See our full review on Tripadvisor.)
10, rue Belzunce (10th arrondissement). Métro: Poissenniere or Gare du Nord. Tel. 01.44.53.06.20.
Pierre-Sang Boyer€ per person for matches with each course, plus another 5€ glass each)
► Septime. We dined here the night after Frenchie, and quite preferred it. The six course menu included octopus, eggs with vegetables, red mullet, wasabi beef, cheese plate, and figs with lavender. We’ll happily return. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
► Rino. Hopping, noisy, super-cramped, tiny, not much physical charm, especially deep in the back part of the place. But great, fresh, vibrant cooking, focusing on fish, by an Italian chef who offers two menus nightly. We will happily return. But: It’s been written up in the NYTimes, unfortunately. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
46 rue Trousseau (11th arrondissement). Métro: Ledru Rollin. Tel. 01.48.06.95.85.
L’Écailler du Bistrot. We had excellent but expensive oysters and sea fish — the Turbot was great, but at 45 Euros, ouch. Beware: On a hot September night, without (apparently) air conditioning, the back room gets uncomfortably warm. And too long: a simple dinner of entre, plat & dessert for four took 3 hrs 45 min. Our pleasant overworked waitress, realizing these problems, gave us comps of Champagne — that was a nice touch. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
22 rue Paul-Bert (11th arrondissement). Métro: Faidherbe Chaligny. Tel. 01.43.72.76.77.
Bistrot Paul Bert. Because it’s associated with the place next door, L’Écailler du Bistrot, and we were in the mood something light and fishy, we thought it would be a good place to order fish. And it was: We had fine salmon and dos lieu, and shoulder of cod. Next time, we will order meat dishes, which looked great as they wafted past our table. For reviews, see Paris by Mouth.
18 rue Paul-Bert (11th arrondissement). Métro: Faidherbe Chaligny. Tel. 01 43 72 24 01.
► Le Chateaubriand. This is a happening place with minimalist décor and thin bearded waiters who serve edgy food. The five course dinner comes with no choices, although our waiter explained that accommodations could be made for allergies, etc. We had raw oyster (cut in half) served in a small white bowl, with thinly sliced yellow radishes, micro-chopped green onion, with a golden broth poured over; five small raw scallops in a cucumber broth with a pureed garnish (seaweed?), under what appeared to be a large (4 by 7 inches) translucent thin slice of some sort of root vegetable; sea bass with razor thin cauliflower & puree of same, with herbs (very Japanese-like, served on a dark gray plate); extremely delicate blanquette de veau with three slices of black truffle in a light brothy cream sauce, served in a dark grey bowl; we then split a small plate of gruyere, chevre, and brie; finally we split a dessert of poached pear (retaining some nice firmness) in cream, with an ice-cream like side dish (what was that?); and one coffee. All of this was washed down with a large Badoit and two demis of bourgogne blanc and rouge (18 Euro each, ordered, not from the extensive carte des vins — presented as three separate photocopied pages — but from the chalk board above the bar). They needed our table for the twenty or so folks waiting at the bar when we finished at about 22:30, and so we did not linger, but we did not feel rushed.
129 ave. Parmentier (11th arrondissement). Métro: Goncourt. Tel. 01.43.57.45.95
Astier. The prix fixe dinner has been one of the best bargains in the city. There is no “carte," but there are many selections for each course. This crowded place is quite plain, with a 1930s-1950s feel. After dinner an enormous tray of cheeses is left at your table long enough for you to take three to four ample samples. (But note: On more recent visit it was not quite as good as before; but since then we've seen a glowing review by Patricia Wells, and we trust her . . . .)
44, rue J.P. Timbaud (11th arrondissement). Métro: Oberkampf or Parmentier. Tel. 01.43.57.16.25. Open 12:00 noon-2:00 (lunch), 8:00-10:15 (dinner), closed Sat. & Sun. & last week of July and all of Aug.
Le Villaret. We had the 20 Euro lunch menus, and a nice wine; we will return for dinner. The place is known for its list, which was very extensive; we had to hunt for, and found, a good Croze Hermitage at the lower end, 30 Euro. We started with a little amuse of cauliflower soup. Mo, ordered what turned out to be one of our favorite lunch dishes of our trip: “tarte” lapin with aubergines -- properly caramelized, with nicely shredded rabbit. We would go back to just to have that. I had fromage de tete (it was good, but not nearly as good as at Au Petit Marguery, 13eme – that was great), and daube de biche in a little staub (nice, but a bit too dry as usual for that meat, in my experience). For dessert we split fromage blanc with plum compote. With coffee came home-made chocolates and macaroons.
13, rue Ternaux, tel. 01.43.57.75.56. Métro: Parmentier.
Le Repaire de Cartouche. We had lunch in the upstairs bistro. I was apprehensive, given poor reviews I’d read of the service, but it was fine. (The two Japanese/Americans struggling to understand the carte on the on other side of the room were not treated as gently as they needed, however.) We had boules mayonnaise, an omelet with cepes, lamb shoulder, a fairly nice red Corbieres, and then split a nice clafoutis aux poires. In all it was quite good, but we agreed that when we return at night, we’ll try the restaurant downstairs, with a slightly more interesting menu.
8 Boul. Des Filles-du-Calvaire, tel. 10.47.00.25.86. Métro: Filles-du-Calvaire.
Le Temps au Temps. We enjoyed comfort food in this tiny bistro down the steet from two other good looking places, Le Bistrot Paul Bert, and L'Ecailler du Bistro.
13 rue Paul Bert, tel. 01.43.79.63.40. Métro: Faidherbe-Chaligny.
Le Square Trousseau. Hmmm, the place has movie charm and was fun, but it seems to be doing too many things. In addition to traditional bistro fare, it offers a cheeseburger and an Asian shrimp & peanut dish. The cuisse de grenouille, frog’s legs, looked good, but were surprisingly under seasoned. The foie gras was OK, not great. The veal chop saved the day at our table for four.
1 Rue Antoine Vollon (12th arrondissement). Métro: Ledru Rollin.
Le Quincy. We’ve known about and walked by this place for years, and finally dined there. Jovial (and controlling) Bobose and his dour wife indeed put on a show, and some of the hearty dishes were quite good, but as we figured out later (we are a table for 7, including two Paris natives, and I did not see the bill), we were grossly overcharged on wine and bottled water, and this leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Return? Non, once is enough.
28 ave Ledru-Rolin (12th arrondissement). Métro: Ledru Rollin. Tel. 01.46.28.46.76.
► Le Train Bleu. This is the most impressive train station restaurant we ever expect to see! Even if you don't dine, you should just peek to see this Belle Époque historic monument with very high ceiling murals depicting the southern destinations of trains that depart from the tracks below and behind the front door of the restaurant. By many accounts the classic fare does not quite measure up to the setting and ambiance. We love the baba rhum for dessert, the bottle will be left at your table.
Gare de Lyon (12th arrondissement). Métro: Gare de Lyon. Tel. 01.43.43.09.06.
Les Zygomates. This charming Lyonnais bistro, far from the city center in a former 1930s butcher shop, serves classic fare such as foie gras with pine nuts, prawn raviolis, and rascasse (scorpion fish).
7 rue de Capri (12th arrondissement). Métro: Daumesnil or Michel Bizot. Tel. 01.40.19.93.04. Closed Mon. & Sat (lunch), Sun.
4 rue de Bercy (12th arrondissement). Métro: Cour St Emilion. Tel. 01.40.19.09.95. (Closed Sat. noon and Sun.)
Au Petit Marguery. We loved the bright and welcome feel of this venerable place. We had, among other things, terrine of pigeon with foie gras, tête de veau, and perfectly cooked bar with pork, washed down with a nice Beaujolais — and followed by a very good Grand Marnier soufflé.
Le Cornichon. This was a great first night place, and one of the most enjoyable meals of a three-week trip to the south and Paris. In a small, convivial room we had two memorable entrées: Tête de veau snackée minute, cervelle frite et girolles aigre douce; Sauté de champignons minute, escargots, échalotes et jus de viande. Plats: Cabillaud poché, au thé torréfié, petits poireaux grillés, aubergine et sesame (quite light, maybe a bit too so); jous de veau braisées tomatées, cocos de Paimpol cuisinés. Two cheese courses, one dessert, pommes et poires confites carmelisees, sorbet fromage blanc. Plus a bottle of water and a nice bourgogne, and 2 apperos.
34, rue Gassendi. Métro: Denfert-Rochereau.
10, place Constantin Brancusi (14th arrondissement). Métro: Gaite.
La Cerisaie. A young chef and his wife cook and serve in this tiny and plain place with a southwest influence. Expect foie gras, pork from Gascony, and an excellent variation on “baba au rhum” — made with Armagnac. (Reservations required; if you reserve for an early seating, that is, before 8:30 p.m., you may be surrounded by Americans.)
70, Boul. Edgar-Quinet (14th arrondissement). Métro: Edgar-Quinet or Montparnasse Beinvenüe. Tel. 01.43.20.98.98. Closed weekends and Aug.
Régalade. This is a classic, crowded and cramped bistro. When we departed dinner, tres content, at about 11:30 p.m., there were many lined up and standing over us, waiting for our table.
Le Dome. This traditional and expensive seafood restaurant/ brasserie has a clubby atmosphere.
108, boul. du Montparnasse (14th arrondissement). Métro: Vavin. Tel. 01.43.35.25.81.
Le Dirigeable. We were in the mood for a simple place, and this is one — thanks to our friend Mangeur for the rec. Memorable: langue de boeff, and veau. My sanglier was a bit dry, as it often can be. We never saw the carte des vins but we were in simple mode and happy to order “natural” vins du moment in carafes and verres off the board. And it was nice chatting with the owner, Guy, who spent many years at restaurants in San Francisco (we agreed with him that Zuni is a favorite). Can’t find a web site, but see a review here: http://notdrinkingpoison.blogspot.com/2010/09/some-other-better-paris-le-dirigeable.html
37, rue dAlleray (15 th arrondissement). Métro: Convention.
Axuria. Because it’s open 7 days, this was a nice Sunday dinner option. Memorable: raviole truffes, and turbot. The soufflé grand marnier was OK, if a bit rubbery. Décor a bit oddly cold — looked better on the web site than in person, but I suspect it’s more pleasant in daylight.
54 Ave. Felix Faure (15th arrondissement). Métro: Boucicaut.
Le Grand Pan. We had excellent cote de boeuf, and even better cote de porc, along with very good and inexpensive wines by carafe, drawn from barrels in the basement.
20 rue Rosenwald, tel. 01.42.50.02.50. Métro: Plaisance.
Le Cave à vin de l'os à Moëlle. Some friends who live in the area took us to their local wine store & bar for dinner. It’s a great deal for 22 Euros: We started with artichokes in lemon butter; separate beet, carrot & celery salads; porc rillettes; pate de campagne & three mustards; and boulots with mayonnaise, all left at the communal table. Then you get up to serve yourself soup (we had squash/ pumpkin); and then a plat (we had ham hocks and/or tripes with cabbage); and then goat cheeses; finally, there’s a selection of 8 desserts. Wine is retail (I think — we did not pay so I did not see bill) — pulled from the shelves of the wine store that surounds you. The water is bottled “in house.” The experience was far from high end, but it was fun and very satisfying on a Saturday night, and the place was hopping. (The Restaurant l’Os l'Os à Moëlle is across the street at 3, rue Vasco de Gama.)
181 rue de Lourmel, 01.45.57.28.28. Métro: Lourmel.
Bistrot d’Andre. This was the canteen of the former Citroen automobile plant that was located nearby until a few decades ago. The offerings, and the prices, still respect the long-departed local workers’ tastes, and budgets. The two friendly rooms overflow with Citroen mementos. 232, rue St-Charles (15th arrondissement).
Métro: Ballard. Tel. 01.45.57.89.14.
Challet des Iles. Getting there is half the fun: one takes a small boat to the island in the middle of this small lake in the Bois de Boulogne. Some complain that the classic French fare is costly and not up to the magical setting, but we loved it nonetheless.
Lac Inferieur du Bois de Boulogne (16th arrondissement).
Métro: La Muette/ La Pompe. Tel.01.42.88.04.69.
Caïus. We had a lovely dinner here at a table for four. Althoug it is definately French, we remember a pronounced Asian influence, especially in the opening courses. Share for 2: 160€.
Au Poulbot Gourmet. This versatile neighborhood restaurant run by a woman chef offers two completely different menus: southern (country), and city. 39, rue Lamarck (18th arrondissement). Lamarck Caulaincourt. Tel. 01.46.06.86.00.
La Baignoire. This comfortable and hip neighborhood restaurant (“the bathtub”) is a close walk from the rue du Square Carpeaux apartment. We found it good, but not great.
151, bis rue Marcadet (18th arrondissement). Métro: Lamarck Caulaincourt. Tel. 01.53.41.63.04.
Le Diapson. Many laud the rooftop alfresco dining (and views) offered May-September, but we enjoyed the stylish street level dining room on a chilly fall evening. Modern and expensive Southwestern fare.
12-14, rue Joseph de Maistre (18th arrondissement). Métro: Abbesses/ Place de Clichy. Tel. 01.44.92.34.00.
Le Bouclard. A real neighborhood & local place focusing on great-grandmother's cooking. (Also offers a good-deal 20 Euro lunch menu.)
1 rue Cavallotti (18th arrondissement). Métro: Place de Clichy. Tel. 01.45.22.60.01.
*On our list: La Table d’Eugène, 18, rue Eugène Sue. Métro: Jules Joffrin, Chateau Rouge, Marcadet-Poissonniers. Tel: 01 42 55 61 64; Closed Sundays and Mondays. See http://parisbymouth.com/la-table-deugene/.
(listed by arrondissement)
(Remember, don't expect the food to match the classic atmosphere. But it you order carefully — focusing on items made to order — these can be very enjoyable. And they are often great places for seafood platters.)
Le Vaudeville. This stylish art deco establishment, located near the stock exchange, is part of the “Grope Flo” chain of traditional brasseries, and is noted for its seafood platters.
5-7 rue de la Bastille (4th arrondissement). Métro: Bastille. Tel. 01.42.72.87.82. Open daily, 12:00 noon-3:00 (lunch), 6:30-1:00 a.m. (dinner).
Brasserie de l’Ile St. Louis. (See listing above, under lunch; but the last time we had lunch here, we were thinking that it would make a good choice for a brasserie dinner . . . .)
55, quai de Bourbon (4th arrondissement). Métro: Pont Marie (or walk from Notre Dame). Tel. 01.43.54.02.59. Open 12:00 noon-2:30 (lunch), 6:30-2:00 (dinner), closed Thurs. lunch, Wed., and Aug.
49, rue des Ecoles (5th arrondissement). Métro: Cluny La Sorbone/ St-Michel). Tel. 01.43.54.13.67.
Brasserie Lipp. Most reviews of this classic brasserie with a political pedigree stress the importance of being seated on the first floor, and not upstairs, in order to see and be seen. From our fine perch on the ground floor (but in the back) we were amused by the wall signs, possibly aimed at American women, advising that a “salad is not a meal.”
151, boul. St-Germain (6th arrondissement). Métro: St-Germain-des-Pres.) Tel. 01.45.48.53.91.
BrasserieMollard. On New Year’s day we headed for lunch at Garnier (right across from the Gare St.-Lazare) for a fruits de mer platter, but were turned off by its shockingly high prices and so we went next door. Lucky to get in without a res, we had to settle for the front-most rooms and sat next to a delightful couple who live around the corner and ended up chatting with them in Franglais. The platter was good, but not among the best we’ve had; the crab in particular seemed suspect. All of the front rooms (circa 1867) are incredible; but the back of the restaurant feels like 1975 — avoid! €131, including a nice Muscadet.
115, rue Saint-Lazare (8th arrondissement, barely). Métro: St.-Lazare or Havre-Caumartin.
Brasserie Flo. This classic brasserie, the namesake (if not flagship) of the “Groupe Flo” of historic brasseries, is located in a not-so-nice neighborhood.
Terminus Nord. This classic brasserie, serving a traditional seafood platter among other dishes, is located across the street from the Gare du Nord.
23 rue de Dunkerque (10th arrondissement). Métro: Gare du Nord. Tel. 01.42.85.05.15.
Brasserie Julien. This is another art nouveau masterpiece, now run by the “Groupe Flo.” The neighborhood is not the best, but in a way that’s part of the magic of this place.
16, rue du Faubourg St-Denis (10th arrondissement). Métro: Strasbourg-St-Denis. Tel. 01.47.70.12.06.
La Coupole. This huge, stylish, loud and festive brasserie still has a 1920s feel. Service can range from attentive and professional, to quite diffident. Great and fresh seafood platter; touristy, but fun.
102, bd. du Montparnasse (14th arrondissement). Métro: Vavin. Tel. 01.43.20.14.20 102.